Emily McIntyre’s story “Jewel/Gem Offering” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 12 January 2018.
Summer in Portland is a riot of roses. Funereal roses, scattering their fragile petals around them like Miss Havisham’s train; glowing roses like tiny sun-bits just waiting to be noticed; classic tea roses whispering of the past. I spend a lot of time on my bike in the summer in this city, thinking while I ride, and occasionally I pull over and lose myself in one of the many rose parks in the city. I set my helmet to the side and lie on my back so the sun and filter through the serrated leaves to kiss my cheeks.
Summer 2017 I had about three weeks when everything seemed a rose-scented dream. I remembered the family legend of my great-great-great grandmother’s pink rose, which she brought down the Ohio river with her, and which nearly every female family member has grown from a little slip in a Mason jar of water. (I’ve killed two in my many cross-country moves.) I began to think about the way the things we inherit from our families are rarely the things we want, but sometimes the things we need. I thought about my own writer-mother, and my storytelling daughter. I wondered what would happen if roses were magical, and only women could wield them? And then I thought of the strange way desire and betrayal seem wound into every interaction we have with our parents, our children, and that was the beginning of “Jewel/Gem Offering”.
I still envision exploring the concept more thoroughly. A book would be a better idea, but I love flash fiction and all it hides and reveals. This was my first sci-fi story and I had to laugh when I realized it still had magic in it. I guess I’m an inveterate magic-seeker, wherever my imagination takes me.
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